Voting results at more than 200 newly established polling stations were “heavily skewed” towards the ruling party at the July election, while seven communes recorded voter turnouts in excess of 110 per cent of eligible voters, a new report from an umbrella group of election monitors has found. Sixty-nine per cent of the 209 new polling stations established for this election were won by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, “well above the nationwide average where the ruling party won 53% of the time”, the Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA) says in the report officially slated for release on December 13 but posted online by the opposition party on Thursday. Of the 902 polling stations created for the election, 691 of them were formed from the splitting of existing stations, 209 were newly established, and two relocated, says the report, prepared by groups including Transparency International, the National Democratic Institute, Comfrel, NICFEC and Licadho.
New polling stations are created to provide for increasing numbers of voters in any one area, as according to the election law, no single polling station can have more than 700 people registered. These new stations were largely located in the battleground provinces of Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Kandal, Phnom Penh, Prey Veng and Siem Reap, the report shows.
But the National Election Committee yesterday rejected the insinuation that the new polling stations somehow helped the CPP. “We don’t create new [stations] to follow the political will of any party, but we create them based on the increase of new voters. Every election new polling stations [are created],” NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha said yesterday.
Full Article: Voting numbers questioned, National, Phnom Penh Post.